Monday, August 21, 2017

Stars in Heaven

"There are some things better to be done with help. Help from a well-tried, well-written
method, or help from someone who knows what they're doing."
Lauren Chanlder, Steadfast Love

I remember as a kid in school hearing teachers say, "You don't get any more stars in heaven for doing things the hard way." Of course that was at a time a teacher could say heaven and not get an email from a parent wanting to know why they said heaven in the classroom. Granted that was way before email, but still. The point was you can do things one of two ways: First, the logical way and second, the less logical way that will take longer, require more effort, and won't result in work that is any better than what someone else accomplished doing it the logical way.

So why, when we have our Bibles filled with stories of God's way of doing things, do we insist on doing things our own way?

Jesus tells us that we are to take His yoke and to learn from Him because His yoke is easy and His burden light. He also promises that when we do that we will find rest for our souls. For as sleep deprived as we are, always striving to do and be more, this sounds like a pretty sweet option. But more often than not, we seem to be playing Let's Make A Deal with our choices and keep picking the curtain that has the fake prize even though everyone in the audience is cheering us on to the correct one.

If I had to guess, my suspicion would be that we don't think we deserve what we're being promised. And the truth is we don't. All we need to do is take on good, honest look at ourselves, realize the depravity of our actions up to this point, and we immediately switch from the truth of grace to the false doctrine of works. But why? If we'd only re-read the book of Romans we would see how futile this line of thinking is.

"Abiding in Jesus is nothing but the giving up of oneself to be ruled, taught, 
and led, enabling the disciple to rest in the arms of Everlasting Love."
Abiding in Christ, Andrew Murray, updated edition

Being created with free-will, our ability to choose has given us the ability to make bad choices. And what's so ironic, is that a lot of us are tired of making decisions. If we are discussing what we will do first, what we will have for dinner, or what time we're going to leave for an event, don't we often wish the other person would just decide? Isn't it based on not wanting to be responsible for the outcome? And isn't this what Jesus offers us with His yoke? And yet we resist it because deep down we all have a little bit of control-freak in us.

The thing is, yielding is not going to come naturally to any of us. It's going to require small, deliberate steps on our part that we will have no choice but to do with the strength of Christ. But the outcome, the rest and peace we desperately are seeking, is going to make it so worth it. Let's ask ourselves what one thing we can start with to see that our hope will not disappoint or put us to shame and continue moving forward from there. We've already got cheerleaders rooting us on, maybe it's time we understand that the Coach they had is for us, too. 

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